To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
If Beale Street Could Talk Paperback – October 10, 2006
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From the Publisher
More About the Author
His novels include Giovanni's Room (1956), about a white American expatriate who must come to terms with his homosexuality, and Another Country (1962), about racial and gay sexual tensions among New York intellectuals. His inclusion of gay themes resulted in much savage criticism from the black community. Going to Meet the Man (1965) and Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone (1968) provided powerful descriptions of American racism. As an openly gay man, he became increasingly outspoken in condemning discrimination against lesbian and gay people.
Top Customer Reviews
If Beale Street Could Talk is a lesson in the injustices of America that existed in the 70s In New York and is still indicative of that great city today. Trish and Fonny are young lovers who believe in the American dream of marriage and family. Best friends since they were young children, they are aware of the racism that surrounds them as being black in America but nevertheless believe they have what it takes to make it, their love.
That is until the day Fonny is arrested and thrown in jail for rape. What follows is a horror that tears at the reader's soul as we go through the pain and frustration with these characters of trying to prove a young black male's innocence, a near impossibility at this time period in our history. Trish is pregnant and working at a dead-end job but has the full support of her Renaissance family. Fonny, on the other hand, only has the support of his wearied father, who once owned a neighborhood business and now is subject to working at a job where he is made to feel less than a man. His wife is self-righteous and unapproachable while his grown daughters are frustrated "old maids" who with their imagined bourgeois airs have tried and convicted their brother.
This story is a testament to the human spirit, of how a people prevail against all odds, telling a story that is so familiar to the Blues the title of the book symbolizes. Another James Baldwin classic, another American classic, not to be missed.
With classic Baldwin insight, the novel reveals how individual, systematic and internalized racial hatred ruined the lives of two lovers and their families. From the white cop that set Fonny up, to the court system that held him down (although he had an alibi) to the family that turned their backs on him, all contributed to his destruction. When Baldwin isn't rendering a scathing critique of America's racial injustices, he's rebuking the unquestioning manner that many African American's cling to religion in hopes of obtaining freedom here on earth.
Although at times it is difficult to distinguish the characters' voice from the author's, the novel truthfully depicts a fictional account of the realities of America's racism.Read more ›
The novel is told by Tish, a nineteen-year-old African American in Harlem in the 1970's. She is deeply in love with Fonny and is pregnant by him, but just about everything has gone wrong for the couple. Fonny is in jail because he has been falsely accussed of rape because he is black. Fonny, Tish, and Tish's family (plus Fonny's father) all love each other, and the family rallies behind Fonny to get him free. They must steal to raise money and even go on a trip to Puerto Rico to confront the woman accussing Fonny.
The characterizations in the novel are marvelous, and the storytelling is superb. Baldwin tells If Beale Street Could Talk in the most beautiful prose. It is almost musical. I also love his many allusions to music. If Beale Street Could Talk is an outstanding novel which can stand with almost any of the twentieth century. It can really be an important novel for teaching young adults about racism and the power of love between a family. If Beale Street Could Talk is a true classic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stayed up every night way past my bedtime reading this book. All of the characters are eerily familiar. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Abimbola
What an incredibly poignant description of the subtle and not so subtle racism (white/black, black/black) as it occurred in NYC in the 60-70s.Published 3 months ago by goodmovies
I am always taken to such a captivating space when I read his work. Needless to say I am a fan. Each book encourages me to read another. Sometimes the ending seem abrupt. . . Read morePublished 13 months ago by Donovan Christie Jr.